Thursday, June 10, 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

Monday Mama: Entertaining budget style!

We are a one income, one child family. We decided, for various reasons I would stay at home with the Madam until she went to school. It has been tight but it works pretty well. Because of the industry (building) the Mr is in it can be a bit hit and miss as far as pay goes - so we have our good weeks and our not so good weeks.

Now as anyone with a child, or niece, nephew, random friends kid knows - children can be expensive. Not only is there the 'stuff' they need but there is the 'stuff' they want (would like!) as well as all the gear you get them out of guilt and a misplaced sense of living vicariously through your kids (or is that just me!) .

Don't get me wrong the Madam does not get everything and a vast majority of the gear she has is thrifted, on sale or a gift - but she still manages to dominate the floor space in our house. With the cold weather coming in and the madam getting older (and apparently wiser) I have been looking for a few different things to keep her entertained, stimulated and to stop in it's tracks that dreaded sentence of 'I'm bored'.

So this is my top five things to do at the moment. They work when you are on a tight budget and have a child who has the energy of an action figure (or six!)

1. Make an indoor cubby - grab the dining chairs, the couch some blankets. Madam sits in hers for ages with her teddies and tea set. This is a good one for a rainy day and also if you have a child that doesn't sleep well - 3am wake up call - build a cubby - they hide and you can crash on couch for a snooze!

2. Playdoh. An oldie but a goodie. I set up the madam with a chopping board, rolling pin, cupcake holders, apron, etc we make some playdoh and she spends a fair amount of time making 'bug cupcakes' and 'worm noodles'. This is the recipe I tend to use:

Uncooked Play Dough

2 cups of plain flour
4 tablespoons of 'cream of tartar'
2 tablespoons of cooking oil
1 cup of salt
2 cups of boiling water
food colouring

Throw it all in a bowl and mix - it doesn't look to good at the beginning but perservere and it gets better once mixed take it out and knead and your ready to go. If you are not keen on using food coloring I usually find that a little paint helps make it different colours.

Painting and/or cutting out magazine pictures and making the 'flour & water glue' is always a good thing - most kids are happy creating anything (including mess!)

3. A cardboard box. You can't go past the entertainment value of a cardboard box. It can be anything - a rocket, a ship, a robot, etc. They can paint it, draw on it, colour it. If you don't have one at home get friendly with a local store that gets big deliveries!

4. A walk....not only is it obviously good for you but it is good for them - if it's rainy and cold throw on the beanie & boots and take an umbrella. Make sure you allow time as I know at least the madam takes FOREVER to look at everything, touch everything, talk to everyone. If you have a dog take that too. We had some issues between the madam and the dog, crazy Karma, regular walking soon sorted that out. Karma is , well, calmer and the madam isn't trying to sell the dog to anyone who walks through the door. I find on those days that by lunch time you know it has all goone to hell in a hand basket - walking solves it. Something about getting out in the fresh air and looking at the world through a toddlers eyes can really give you a whole other perspective on the day.

5. Have an adventure.....if you have a car put the kids in the car....if you don't then just walk, catch a bus (some places have free buses). Don't have a set destination just go with the flow - follow all the arrows, go south or just chase a rainbow. Sometimes not having a plan is the best plan of all.

Here are a few places on the web I visit to get a little inspiration for my parenting....don't get me wrong sometimes nothing works on the madam but 9 out of 10 days we find a way to stay out of comatose bordom.....

Childhood 101

*e* Emily always seems to be doing something cool with her kids and she has some great 'crafty' ideas.

ABC this is a great website that has some activities, colour in sheets, great links, games, etc - I can never fault the ABC - they seem to provide so many options for kids wether they watch TV or not.

I hope these come in handy. If anyone has any other ideas I would love to hear them

This is part of the Monday Mama series - so if you pop on over to The Byron Life you will be able to catch up on more Monday Mama's - Megan always has some great ideas that she does with her kids too!